Fulham 1-2 Ipswich: Fourth straight away win for Tractor Boys
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 16/12/15 10:36am
Freddie Sears scored after just 16 seconds as Ipswich maintained their top-six spot in the Sky Bet Championship with a 2-1 victory at Fulham - their fourth straight away win.
The former West Ham forward took advantage of some poor defending from the hosts as they lost the ball straight from kick-off.
Ross McCormack got the Cottagers level from a 14th-minute free-kick, but Brett Pitman's seventh goal of the season 12 minutes into the second half handed Mick McCarthy's side all three points.
Craven Cottage has been the place to see goals this season - there have now been 39 scored on this ground this term.
But Stuart Gray - Fulham's new 'senior coach' following the departure of Kit Symons - will have been less than happy with his side's defending as they failed to win for a seventh game running.
They allowed Sears to run on from kick-off and beat Richard Stearman and Dan Burn before finishing well.
Arsenal loanee Ainsley Maitland-Niles was impressive for the visitors and went close to a second with a well-struck shot from 25 yards which came back off the bar.
However, Fulham were back on terms on 14 minutes as McCormack's delightful curling free-kick beat Dean Gerken for his 13th goal of the campaign.
Ipswich could have regained the lead as Sears shot over the bar while Ainsley-Niles could then only fire straight at Andy Lonergan after a surging run.
Fulham started the second half strongly as Alex Kacaniklic shot just over the bar with an effort from the left while at the other end Maitland-Niles also missed the target after a neat one-two with Daryl Murphy.
Ipswich were back ahead when Pitman converted Sears' cross in off the post but they then had to survive a heavy period of pressure from the hosts.
The impressive McCormack shot just over before Gray sent on tall striker Matt Smith, throwing caution to the wind by playing three up front.
Smith immediately put himself about, heading just wide from Kacaniklic's corner before also missing the target with his head from Luke Garbutt's cross.
At the other end, Sears was desperately unlucky not to complete an excellent all-round display with a second as he lashed just wide of the post after cutting in from the left.
But Fulham never really looked like finding an equaliser despite forcing two late corners, leaving supporters voicing their disapproval at the finish.
Fulham senior coach Stuart Gray: "We can't control the decision upstairs. Our focus is on winning game. I can't fault their application. At the moment nothing has been said. I will be preparing the players until told otherwise.
Ipswich manager Mick McCarthy: "[Brett Pitman] had root canal treatment and travelled on the bus with a splitting headache and toothache. He's had difficulty sleeping. But he epitomised my team's performance with the way he went about things."